Safari booking tips - Ranthambhore National Park

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#1 Jun 2nd, 2012, 14:11
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#1
Are you planning to head over to Ranthambhore National Park for some tiger sightings ? Get ready for do's & don'ts to book a safari.

On the face of it, it is all very simple. You can book online (http://www.rajasthanwildlife.in/) get an instant confirmation and be done. Or you could walk down to the booking office atleast an hour or two before a safari starts, and buy a seat in the current booking. Only there is more to it. Read carefully so as to can maximize your chances of getting on to a safari – and spot a tiger.

* The park is divided into 5 zones, numbered 1-5.
* Zone 3 (Lake area) is the most popular but sightings aren't guaranteed even there.
* Chances of Tiger sightings are higher in Zone 2, 3, 4 & 5.
* Don't even bother getting onto other Buffer zones 6 (Kundal),7 (Chidikho) or 8 (Balas) unless you intend admiring only the topography,there are hardly any animals over there.
* If you are booking online, in the Tiger Reserve preferance section, choose "Ranthambhore NP Zone" without fail.
* There are two safaris a day and you could choose either.
* You can book to go on a safari in either a Gypsy SUV (seats 6) or a Canter (an open bus seating 20). The Gypsy is always a better option – fewer people, can navigate better and faster and you have greater control in telling the driver and guide what to do. There are a total of 20 each, and these are divided equally in all zones.
* AVOID the canter, unless you fancy your back taking a 3 hour pounding. While the canters cannot take you into narrow routes it'd be a breeze in the Gypsy.
* Each vehicle comes with a driver and a guide.
* When you make a booking, the zone and the guide you get is allocated in a sequence. So it is your luck what you get. If the Driver allotted to you turns out to be Mr.Shambhu (an aspiring F1 driver), be prepared to check into the nearest hospital soon. If the Guide happens to be Mr. Dinesh Sharma, rest assured of tracking the Big cats for some awesome sightings.
* The peak season runs from autumn to spring – the weather is moderate at this time. It is best to book your safaris in advance to avoid disappointment. Funnily, it is also the time when tiger sightings are fewer. The hotter it gets, the more the sightings.
* Best time to go is April – June. The park closes after this for about 3 months due to the rains. Tiger sightings are highest at this time but day temperatures can cross 45 degrees Celsius. Surprisingly, I went in May but the thrills of the safaris did not allow the heat to bother me.
* Advantages of online booking: (1) You are assured of a seat; this is normally not a problem in summers though but don’t take any chances (2) You don’t have to wait for a full house to get a booking. Yes, when you go to the booking window, and want a Gypsy, the booking process is successful only if you are a group of 6 or there are 5 other people willing to go with you. Unless you are willing to pay for the vacant seats – not a bad option if you can afford it, many professional photographers use this option. Gives you more room.
* Disadvantages of online booking: (1) You have no control over the zone you will get; it is allotted by a computerized system. (2) It is non-refundable, and non-transferable (so is the current booking) (3) If you have bought, say 2 tickets, and two more friends want to come along by making a current booking, it is next to impossible to get on to the same safari.
* Current Booking: This starts at the booking office (located near the Sawai Madhopur Lodge, a Taj Hotels property) about an hour before each safari. Since you have limited control over the zone: at the time of booking, you could ask which zone is available. If you don’t want it, you could step back and wait for someone else to make a booking and then try for the next available zone. But this is possible only during summers – there is too much of a rush in the peak season for anyone to even bother talking to you.
* Bribes rarely work as everything is computerized to ensure there is no jostling and fighting to get the desired zones and guides.
* A few hotels do manage to book you on a Gypsy safari but at exorbitant prices.
* How do you know which zone to choose, if you have a choice: Ask around where sightings are more likely during the time you are there. Most guides will tell you they are everywhere and it is all luck. They are partly correct but there are instances when certain zones have definite sightings during a certain period. You will have to make a judgment call after talking to many people.
* If a Tiger has been been spotted in a particular zone in the morning safari, there are 99% chances that you'd find the Tiger in the same area during the evening safari as well.
* Be nice to guides and drivers, and you'd bring out the best in them.
* Rest assured, you might perhaps get a nice Tiger sighting if you are NOT OBSESSED by Tiger sightings.
* Do not get disappointed in case of no sightings, do more safaris and thereby increase your chances.
* Ranthambhore is one of the best reserves to spot the Big cat.

Safari Timings
* 1st October to 31st October: 7.00 A.M. to 10.30 A.M.; 2.30 P.M. to 6.00 P.M.
* 1st November to 31st January: 7.00 A.M. to 10.30 A.M.; 2.00 P.M. to 5.30 P.M.
* 1st February to 31st March: 6.30 A.M. to 10.00 A.M.; 2.30 P.M. to 6.00 P.M.
* 1st April to 15th May: 6.00 A.M. to 9.30 A.M.; 3.00 P.M. to 6.30 P.M.
* 15th May to 30th June: 6.00 A.M. to 9.30 A.M; 3.30 P.M. to 7.00 P.M.

Safari Charges
* Canter (Diesel): Rs. 334 (Indians); Rs. 313 (Indian student); Rs. 513 (non-Indians)
* Canter (Petrol): Rs. 364 (Indians); Rs. 344 (Indian student); Rs. 544 (non-Indians)
* Gypsy: Rs. 429 (Indians); Rs. 408 (Indian student); Rs. 608 (non-Indians)

It'd be great if our fellow IMers add up their personal experiences with respect to the safari booking process at the Ranthambhore NP.

Long live the Tiger !
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#2 Jun 2nd, 2012, 16:00
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  • vinobhojak is offline
#2
Helpful tips.
#3 Jun 2nd, 2012, 16:06
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#3
Hi Vinod,

Hope this thread solicits many more tips (from first hand experiences) which could be handy for first time visitors to Ranthambhore NP.
#4 Jun 3rd, 2012, 00:01
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  • shahronakm is offline
#4
Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing.

Ronak.
#5 Jun 3rd, 2012, 05:04
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  • DaisyL is offline
#5
Thanks for the tips, Vijay Rajan! I hope to go to Ranthambhore, and the detailed tips you have given here will be very helpful!
#6 Jun 4th, 2012, 10:58
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#6
Thanks Ronak & Daisy,

I'm glad you found these useful.

Additional tip :

In case you've booked the safari Online, you'd realize that you've made only a PART Payment for the safari. The rest of the payment needs to be made at the Safari Booking office an hour before the Safari starts & you'd also need to sub,it your Identity documents (photocopy of PAN Card / Voters ID card etc for Indian nationals) (Photocopy of Passport for Foreign nationals).

Since it saves me a lot of time, I just take the easier route. I provide a photocopy of my Online booking receipt as well as my Identity docs to my Hotel / Resort, pay the remaining money to them, pay an additional Rs. 150 - 200 (Negotiable) for their services. The hotel sends the errand boy to the booking office alongwith the docs and arranges to get the boarding pass issued. All I need to do is just wait for the Safari Gypsy to arrive at my Hotel !

I'd also like to mention that safaris at Ranthambhore are cheaper than other Tiger havens like Bandhavgarh / Kanha NP.

One should ideally plan a 2-3 day trip to Ranthambhore and try to do as many as 5 - 6 safaris. Since you do not have any control on the zones, there are chances that you might get allotted the same zone as the previous day. Do not get disheartened & take it in your stride since you just might get luckier !

I'm sure you'd fall in love with this park !
#7 Jun 6th, 2012, 11:36
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#7
Another important tip :

The authorities check Identity papers at the entrance park prior to the safari just to ensure that the details provided in the safari booking voucher, match with the original identity document.

Hence, for Safaris at the Ranthambhore National Park, Foreign visitors are advised to carry their Passports along with them while Indian visitors are advised to carry along their PAN / Voter ID cards without fail !
#8 Nov 24th, 2012, 11:55
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  • gadamayur is offline
#8
Thanks Vijay Rajan for the helpful info.

I've booked 4 safaris to ranthombore NP from 25th to 27th jan 2013
i wanted to know what exactly am i supposed to do once i reach sawai madhopur, to secure my safari.

can i get boarding pass for all safaris at one go, or will i have to rush to the forest booking center all the 4 times?

also, how are the guides and drivers selected? how to identify them?

regards
Mayur Gada.
#9 Nov 24th, 2012, 12:11
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#9
Hi Mayur,

Boarding passes are issued one at a time, an hour prior to each safari.

Instead of visiting the booking center each time, I'd suggest you hand over the safari booking vouchers (alongwith a copy of ID proof) to your hotel / resort guys a couple of hours prior to each safari & they'd collect your boarding passes. All the hotels / resorts normally charge approx Rs. 250 per safari for organizing the boarding passes to be delivered to you as well as the safari vehicle to arrive at your hotel for pick-up. The forest dept allocates the Zone + Driver + Guide on a random basis & we cannot choose any of these. Since it'd be quite cold in January, you'd do well to wear warm clothing. Cheers !
#10 Nov 25th, 2012, 00:14
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  • gadamayur is offline
#10
thanks buddy
The info was very helpful
#11 May 13th, 2013, 22:06
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  • Anwesha Ghosh is offline
#11

Location of Safari Booking Office

Hi,

Thanks Vijay and the others for this wonderful thread...

Could you please tell me where the Safari Booking Office is located in Ranathambhor?...I mean, besides which hotel to be precise... I was thinking of booking accommodation at RTDC Jhumar Baori...Will it be too far from the Safari Booking Office?

With Regards,
Anwesha
#12 May 17th, 2013, 14:21
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#12
Hi Anwesha,

Jhumar Baori (JB) is a 20 minute drive approximately from the Safari Booking office located on Ranthambhore Road near the new ST Stand. JB is located right on the edge of the park & wild animals move around it's periphery. Hence it is not advisable to walk down from JB to the booking office. There are plenty of resorts like Ankur Resort etc within walk-able distance from the booking office.

If you book your safaris online & book your accommodation at JB, you just need to handover your safari booking voucher with Rs. 450 /- for ticket release to their staff & they will ensure that the Gypsy picks you up & drops @ JB.

Cheers,

Vijay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anwesha Ghosh View Post Hi,

Thanks Vijay and the others for this wonderful thread...

Could you please tell me where the Safari Booking Office is located in Ranathambhor?...I mean, besides which hotel to be precise... I was thinking of booking accommodation at RTDC Jhumar Baori...Will it be too far from the Safari Booking Office?

With Regards,
Anwesha
#13 Nov 2nd, 2013, 21:50
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  • Praveen Devarao is offline
#13

Info on reaching forest booking center

Hi folks,

I have booked for safari @ 7 AM. I would be reaching Sawai madhopur Railway station around 5:30 AM.....My safari boarding point is Forest Booking Center. Could some one kindly tell me how far is the forest booking centre from Sawai Madhopur Railway Station and how could I reach there.

Thanks

Praveen
#14 Nov 5th, 2013, 09:23
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  • Vijay Rajan is offline
#14
Praveen,

The Safari Booking Office is a 10 minute ride by Autorickshaw (Rs. 50 - 60 /-) from the Sawai Madhopur Railway Station.

Reach the "Online Booking" window, produce your booking voucher alongwith a photocopy of your ID, show them your Original ID, pay the charges and collect your boarding pass. Just shout out the vehicle number printed on your boarding pass & you'd find the Driver.

Since your train reaches at 5.30 a.m, I'd suggest you to head over straight to the booking office & complete the formalities since the pick-up normally starts at 06.30 a.m these days due to winter timings.

Cheers !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praveen Devarao View Post Hi folks,

I have booked for safari @ 7 AM. I would be reaching Sawai madhopur Railway station around 5:30 AM.....My safari boarding point is Forest Booking Center. Could some one kindly tell me how far is the forest booking centre from Sawai Madhopur Railway Station and how could I reach there.

Thanks

Praveen
#15 Nov 9th, 2013, 15:01
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  • Nimis is offline
#15
The three major lakes, Rajbaugh, Milak talao and Padam talao attract a variety of migratory birds.
Tips-
1.Timings for entry into, and exit from, the park vary according to the season. In winters, due to the shorter duration of daylight hours, the morning entry time is later and evening exit time is earlier.
Special Note for the Park Safari.
1.Transistors, tape recorders, blowing the car horn and loud conversations are taboo in a national park.
2.Wear colours that blend with the forest.
3. Do not feed any wild animals.
Last edited by narendra.d; Nov 9th, 2013 at 17:11.. Reason: edited to remove unofficial site link.
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